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Wetlands Question and Answer – Can I Build a Dock?

Wetlands Question and Answer – Can I Build a Dock?

I received the following question from a citizen seeking clarification of the proposed Wetlands Ordinance.  I welcome the opportunity to share the truth!

Question:  If the new ordinance is passed, will I be able to build a dock on my property?

Answer:  The proposed ordinance states:

(1) Docks.

  1. The dock shall be located on the property at the point of least distance between the uplands and the open water body to minimize the intrusion into the wetland or other surface water.

  2. A dock shall only extend far enough to reach a maximum water depth of four feet below mean low water, so long as it does not extend beyond 20 percent of the width of the water body and have more than 500 square feet of over-water surface area in Outstanding Florida Waters or 1,000 square feet of surface area in waters not designated as Outstanding Florida Waters.

  3. If there is a vertical seawall along the shoreline and the water depth at the point at which the dock is constructed is already four feet below the mean low water line, the dock shall not extend more than 25 feet beyond the vertical seawall.

  4. The access walkway of a dock shall be no more than four feet wide.

  5. The terminal platform of a dock shall be no larger than 160 square feet.

  6. Boards or other opaque materials, if used to construct the surface of the dock, shall be no more than eight inches wide and be spaced at least one-half inch apart.

  7. Any part of the dock located over submerged or emergent aquatic vegetation shall be elevated a minimum of five feet above the mean or ordinary high water line.

Most of these requirements sound acceptable right?  Carefully consider #1. “The dock shall be located on the property at the point of least distance between the uplands and the open water body to minimize the intrusion into the wetland or other surface water.”  

On every piece of property, there is one spot of least distance between the uplands and the open water body.  That particular spot may be an acceptable location for a dock and everything will work fine.  If that particular spot is not the best location for a dock, an alternate location would not be allowed and the dock permit would be denied by Wakulla County, even if the required State and Federal permits have been received.  This will put the county at risk of a lawsuit, if the property owner wishes to stand up for his property rights.  The proposed ordinance will not allow a variance in this case.  To permit a variance, the ordinance would have to be amended.  The proposed ordinance includes a “Tyranny Clause” which would give one Commissioner the power to veto the wishes of the other 4 and make an amendment impossible, without a unanimous vote, or by taking the proposed amendment back to voters on a special referendum.  Imagine asking the voters to go to the ballot to approve or disapprove a variance needed by a single property owner.  Now imagine your own property, how would you feel if you had to ask voters to give you permission to use your property?  For the past year, I have shared numerous reasons why the proposed ordinance is wrong and just bad for Wakulla County.  This is one more reason why we do not need this ordinance.

The risk I have described above does not currently exist in Wakulla County.  We eliminated this risk when we repealed the Wakulla Wetlands Ordinance.  A yes vote on Referendum A will return this risk to Wakulla County Tax Payers.  If a Wakulla Wetlands Ordinance is adopted, it can only be changed by a unanimous vote of all County Commissions, after 2 years, or by another referendum of Wakulla County Voters.

A NO vote on Referendum A will eliminate this risk!

You now know the truth. Your friends and family deserve to know the truth also. Please share with everyone you know, by Facebook, email, and personal conversations. Also leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

Dock

One Response to “Wetlands Question and Answer – Can I Build a Dock?”

  1. Tim Jordan says:

    Another good reason to vote NO!

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